Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?

By Betty Jane Bailey; J. Martin Bailey | Go to book overview

The Future of Christians in the Arab World

RIAD JARJOUR

Are Christians in the Middle East dying out? Whenever the question about the future of Christians in the Arab world is raised, the answer always seems to be pessimistic. In a recent volume in the encyclopedic French series on the Christians of the East, Jean-Pierre Valognes asks,

Will the final uprooting of the Christians from the East take the
form of a tragedy? There are too many crude precedents for us to
rule out that possibility. But in spite of everything, it is more
likely that they will quietly disappear in the process of a draining
away, a process at once both unobtrusive and merciless.1

Valognes is excessively pessimistic. I believe it is important to describe the reality that Christians in the Arab world face, including the challenges to their lives, the responses to these challenges, and the horizons of their future and destiny.

1. Jean-Pierre Valognes, Vie et mort des chrétiens d’Orient: des origines à nos jours (Paris: Fayard, 1994).

The Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, a former General Secretary of the Middle East Council of
Churches, is currently General Secretary of the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian
Dialogue and President of the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue. His
office is in Beirut, Lebanon.

-12-

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Who Are the Christians in the Middle East?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • More Praise for This Book i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Our Love Affair with the Middle East- An Introduction xi
  • Part I - The Churches of the Middle East 1
  • A Western Christian Appreciation of Eastern Christianity 3
  • The Future of Christians in the Arab World 12
  • The Churches of the Middle East Now Work Together 22
  • The Importance of Jerusalem to Christians 32
  • A Timeline of Christianity in the Middle East 37
  • A Word about Numbers 44
  • Part II - Profiles of the Churches 47
  • The Origins of the Diversity of Christianity in the Middle East 49
  • The Eastern Orthodox Family 56
  • The Oriental Orthodox Family 69
  • The Catholic Family 82
  • The Evangelical (Protestant) Family 101
  • The Assyrian Church of the East 134
  • Part III - Church and State in the Middle East 139
  • A Brief History 141
  • Cyprus 145
  • Egypt 148
  • The Holy Land- Israel and Palestine 154
  • Iran 164
  • Iraq 168
  • Jordan 173
  • Lebanon 178
  • The Maghreb (North Africa) 185
  • The Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia 189
  • Sudan 195
  • Syria 199
  • Turkey 204
  • Annotated Bibliography 210
  • Index 214
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